momofuku birthday cake

so. a few weeks before my birthday i was trying to decide which type of cake to bake. i don't always bake my own birthday cakes, but baking is something i take deep, soul-humming pleasure in. so for my 30th i decided that yes, i would bake my own cake. as a gift to myself.

originally i was going to go with a carrot cake because it was my staple birthday cake growing up. my momma made the best carrot cake. she used to dye coconut green and use cadbury mini eggs or robin eggs for the top. once, i remember, when i was maybe 5 or 6 she made little cupcake easter baskets for my school party. i can picture clearly climbing up onto our white with brown grout tiled counter top and watching as she sprinkled the bits of coconut, carefully placed three eggs, and put a pipe cleaner on from one side to the other. she looks like me, in my memory, concentrating hard to make it just perfect. but no, i decided not carrot cake. mainly because mom's is the only carrot cake i want to remember. 

after i ruled out carrot cake i did what any one would do. i turned to the internet. i went to bon appetite's website and typed in the search bar "best birthday cake." because obviously i want the best, not just regular birthday cake. and then the heavens parted and i was led to this cake. the momofuku milk bar birthday cake. and then i watched the video and i knew i no longer needed to search.

i didn't have a large enough sheet pan for this cake, but i guess i also didn't have 6 inch cake pans either so never mind. i actually just wanted crusty edges. the way christina tosi makes her cake of course looks like unkempt cake perfection, but i knew mine wouldn't come out like that. and i had a different vision anyway. what you see above was not actually my vision, but i'm giving myself a pass as this was my first attempt at a "naked cake," or half naked...whatever it turned out as. don't worry, i'm not fooled. there is for sure room for improvement. a lot of it. 

so let me tell you about this cake. there are a lot of components to it. the cake, the crumbs, the frosting, the soak. but they're all really easy and surprisingly quick. it would be crazy for me to write it all out here, so if you're intrigued then definitely go watch the video. my favorite, genius part about this cake is the cake soak. genius! why didn't i think of that!? each layer gets a nice little bath in whole milk and vanilla extract and lemme tell you...that cake was the definition of moist. it. was. so. good. the downside to my long, drawn out cake story is that i always forget that i don't actually like cake that much. if i had to choose between baking a cake and eating it, hands down i would choose baking it. every time. which kind of works out perfectly for everyone.